Placing our bets

Every day, we decide with our hearts, with our feet, with our checkbooks, what we think about God’s presence with our lives. Put differently, we’re placing a bet.

If I had to bet my life on one possibility or the other, which one would I bet it on? If you had to bet your life, which one would you bet it on? On Yes, there is God in the highest, or, if such language is no longer viable, there is Mystery and Meaning in the deepest? On No, there is whatever happens to happen, and it means whatever you choose it to mean, and that is all there is?

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark, pp. 172-173

As I go through my day, through my week, what do my decisions say I actually believe about God’s work in the world, in my life. My mouth may recite that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) but what do my feet, my calendar, my checkbook say?

And what does my prayer life say?

Are we going through the expected, habitual motions of prayer, without vigorous belief in what we are doing? Have we lived as functional atheists until faced with personally desperate situations, prompting us to pray deeply only then?

Keith Swartley (ed.), Encountering the World of Islam, p. 435

A son of our friends was hit by a car, and our prayer life has rather intensified since then. I think Swartley’s rather pointed questions are right on the money for most of us, at least some of the time.

Now I’m not a fan of navel-gazing, but it’s important to reflect from time to time on where we are, and where we’re headed — where our bets are currently placed, and where we want to place them.

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